A lamp just sat there in the middle of the room, covered in dust atop a rusty, round table. It sat near a single
window which shone dull blue light in from the sunless day. We stumbled upon this room while exploring an apartment that was said to have always been empty. The apartment felt heavy with dust and dead with quietness. We couldn’t explain how quiet it was as the building’s residents were anything but; living here had always been robust with energy. No one seemed to bother with the room, either; they just passed it towards the bathroom. We decided to have a look.
We stood in the hall looking at the lamp, just being there drinking in the light. Its body was black with gold plating and the shade was a typical off-white. After what seemed like half an hour of just staring at it, I noticed that it didn’t have a wire. Upon seeing this, I searched for an outlet. The walls were a bare maroon and completely spotless.
My friends had gone off, exploring the other rooms. I felt compelled to walk up to the lamp. Its presence in the room felt off and I was curious. I needed to touch it, to wipe the dust off the shade, to feel the smoothness of the base. The rusted table only added to the peculiarity of the room. The light from the single window was beginning to dim; I knew I had to do this before the night took everything away.
I stood there waiting for myself.
I decided to take my shoes off before entering the room - no idea why, it just felt wrong to have them on in there. The first step I took felt cold on the wooden floor. I started forcing my second step - I was completely in the room now, alone with the lamp. I was urging myself to get closer to it; my need was building and my slow entry seemed to disrupt the calmness. My tiny steps formed into a stride as my body carried itself towards the window. I was three paces away when I felt it.
It was a strange feeling, like when you’re watching someone and you think they haven’t noticed yet. A strange pleasure that makes the hairs on your hand stick up. I took a step back and my foot began to tingle like it was numb, forcing me to stop. There was complete silence. Where were my friends? Something broke the silence and it sounded like someone was scratching or tapping a window. It sounded like it was right behind my head. There were two little taps, quiet as the tick of a clock. Once more, to the left of me, but like a drawer opening.
I could hear the ones behind me again; it fluctuated from ear to ear - two little taps. I took a few steps forward, closer to the window. The shadows on the floor seemed to dance. My hearing seemed to intensify. The lamp was in arms reach. My body seemed to itch with excitement and exhilaration. I had what I envisioned to be an ambrosia-like taste filling my mouth. Crack! Phht! Sounds filled my ears. I could hear tapping in front of me, following my eyes. I could hear the building settling around me, the footsteps of a child, birds singing behind me, tapping on the window, the sound of a clock ticking closer, and a plane taking off in the distance. Shadows seemed to gather around the table.
That familiar feeling of beings like humans or animals wasn’t there. The shadows didn’t have a presence to them - it was like empty darkness. However, I felt them touch me as they circled around the table. That’s how I noticed them. Daylight was fading away into night and the shadows were getting scarce. My eyes seemed to stop working as I stood there. It seemed like ages before anything happened. When it did, I faltered and covered my eyes; the lamp had turned itself on.
Yellow-orange flame-like light licked through the lampshade, growing steadily and slowly. The light seemed to be alive; it had a wild presence. I was in a trance staring into the lamp. True life seemed to emanate from underneath; the sadness seemed to cover the room. The shadows seemed to grab at the light, like death overwhelming its prey. My own shadow seemed to enjoy it also; it was standing towards the light, moving on its own. I knew it wanted to leave me. I could feel it tugging at my feet, unable to get free.
My feet started to tingle. I could feel the need of my own shadow. A little part of it detached itself from me and reattached again for an instant. In that moment that it was gone from where I stood, I felt exhilarated. I found myself urging it to go. I was trying to will it off me. I’ve never felt the love it felt for the light the lamp had before. A single tear fell down the side of my nose. The purity felt right. The desperation it felt seeped into me. There was only one foot left to free itself from. I started screaming in my head for myself to let go of whatever binding was keeping it from fleeing.
I tried to ignore the needles seeping into my fingers and going up my hands. The sharp sleep rose instantly to my elbows and a few seconds later into my shoulders. There was something wrong - incredibly wrong - about what was happening. I could no longer feel my fingers. My hands were starting to lose mobility. I hadn’t even noticed I couldn’t move my neck anymore.
My head was stationed downward, looking at my feet. My eyes didn’t want to move. In my peripheral vision, I couldn’t see my hands anymore. The black shapes of my own hands were on the floor next to my feet and growing. Nothing could move as the shadows fell from my body. I couldn’t see my arms, but I knew they were gone. There was no pain, only darkness.
The lamp was fading. I knew I wouldn’t be able to grasp the light when I was fully gone. I was now looking up at my legs in the dim light emanating from the lamp. Complete darkness was only moments away.
No one would believe me. The light from the sun had saved me. My friends left me. I knew they weren’t my true friends anyway. One even said he didn’t know why he didn’t like me anymore. I was changed that night. The one thing they told me before they left was that I was brave for spending the night in that apartment. I don’t even remember leaving.